So I was at the store yesterday and I happened to notice the checker had a lot of scars on her forearms. I didn’t stare, but from a couple of glances I would estimate there were 30-40 parallel, linear scars on each arm. I can’t think of what else they could be except cutting scars.
She was friendly enough and I was friendly back. I couldn’t help wondering as I walked away, what has she had to deal with in her life? What has been so bad that she has cut herself to make living bearable? Was she raped? Was she molested? Was she abused? Does she suffer from mental illness? Is she better now or is she just putting on a brave face and trying to survive one more day?
There are no answers, of course. I didn’t ask her and I doubt she would have told me. There is only so much you can do for random strangers you meet as you go through life. You can (sometimes) see the visible symptoms of their pain, but there’s not much you can do beyond being kind. It’s so little, but it’s all I have.
So I’m kind. I smile, I’m genuinely appreciative, and I’m polite. And I hope that whatever they are dealing with, whatever kind of day they are having, maybe having one customer who treats them like a human being is enough not to put another scar on their arm.